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Should we get a new MC?

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 Lefonquey1 (original poster new member #79618) posted at 1:02 PM on Wednesday, November 24th, 2021

My wife had an 8 month long affair that ended shortly before I found out last June. Since then, we’ve been seeing a MC who keeps talking about CBT therapy. We addressed her unfulfilled needs in an attempt to identify the cause of her cheating.

However, on my first post to this forum (and another), many of you are telling me that Infidelity is not necessarily caused by unfulfilled needs, but someone deeper in the AP. You say that if the WS accepts their fair share of the blame, that it validates the behavior and that down the road, new unfulfilled reds may arise, thrusting her back into the feedback loop of infidelity… because that’s what she knows.

I’m very new to this and trying my hardest to get better. But I feel like I am doing all the work, as she refuses to go to IC to address any other causes that have nothing to do to me.

Both approaches make sense to me… so should we get a new MC that will focus more on core values? How do I find one?

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Trdd ( member #65989) posted at 2:12 PM on Wednesday, November 24th, 2021

How? Interview a bit before you try a therapist. Ask about their experience and perspective. Questions like:

* How much experience do you have with infidelity?
* What is your perspective on what causes infidelity?
* Do you believe the state of the marriage before the betrayal is a legitimate cause of infidelity or is it a rationalization?
* Do you believe the WS sgould be getting IC?

Most people here believe it is solely an inner flaw in the WS that is the cause of infidelity. The context of the marriage and life in general pre-affair is only the stage where the inner flaw comes out and acts. Some people ascribe no legitimate influence to the context pre-affair, others, like me, think that the context is an important piece of the puzzle but it isn't the underlying reason for the betrayal.

So what does that mean? You need a therapist that gets that. That believes the flaws in the marriage are not the underlying reason for an affair. And hopefully one that realizes that the WS should be getting IC to work on their inner problems and that IC is an important tool to make the WS safe for the marriage.

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sisoon ( Guide #31240) posted at 2:27 PM on Wednesday, November 24th, 2021

I think more was said to you that you haven't mentioned.

1) Most of us believe IC is necessary before MC. You were an ap, and you freaked when your ap became pregnant. That was traumatic for your ap, and I suspect the fallout was traumatic for you. Now you're dealing with the thoughts and feelings of being betrayed by a woman who is now a serial cheater, and the fact that you beat up her ap, and you're wondering how you'll feel in 20+ years. A good IC can help you.

2) Your W is a serial cheater. How come? Does she want to cheat, or does she want to be authentic? My guess is that she's pretty unhappy with herself because she isn't the person she wants to be. She surer than hell can't always get external validation for her body, because her body will change, and not for the better. (I like how my W looks now, but I've been with her for 50+ years, and I keep the memories of how she looked when she was 21). She's in IC, but maybe not with a good one.

IC before MC is a good idea. IC with MC may work if ICs and MC are better than most.

I think we're all flawed. I think it's bad thinking, in essence, that causes a person to cheat - for example, holding on to the thought that 'all I need is more attention to feel good forever' is more bad thinking than a character flaw, IMO.

But other than that, TRDD's post is a good start.

I'd add checking into the results of the candidate's work is important. How may of the MC's client R and D, how many wanted R/D at the start - you want to find out about the MC's biases before signing up, IMO

[This message edited by sisoon at 2:50 PM, Wednesday, November 24th]

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 2:27 PM on Wednesday, November 24th, 2021

At this point,you shouldn't be in MC. Your wife should be in IC, to work on herself,and address her issues. Any MC that allows a WS to blame their BS for their actions is a terrible MC. And a bad MC does far more harm than no MC

Honestly, until your wife takes responsibility for her actions,and stops contact with the AP (stalking him is contact), there can be no moving forward.

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The1stWife ( member #58832) posted at 4:16 PM on Wednesday, November 24th, 2021

Just because the cheater has "unfulfilled needs" doesn’t mean the BS had anything to do with it OR that is a valid reason to cheat.

And I agree your wife needs individual counseling before you start marriage counseling. It’s like trying to fix a wound that needs stitches with a band aid. It’s going to keep bleeding unless you fix it properly.

And marriage counseling will not "fix" your wife’s issues. She needs her own counseling to figure out why she makes the choices she does.

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled.

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Bigger ( Guide #8354) posted at 4:38 PM on Wednesday, November 24th, 2021

Well… infidelity IS caused by unmet needs.

At least that’s what I think.

Only the needs aren’t necessarily logical or sensible and totally independent of what the betrayed spouse does or does not do.

The rule-of-thumb is that infidelity is about validation. We all need validation in some form or other. Most of us get it in our achievements; we get a job because of our qualifications, we get a raise, praise, lower our handicap, land the big trout… whatever. We even might create our own validation as in being confident in our achievements.
A WS heads into an affair because of… wrong validation.

There is a need for validation – only that validation is met by the wrong type.

I don’t know about your wife, but chances are the OM showed her some attention or responded to her attention. That validates her. Makes her feel interesting, sexual, appealing, smart, exciting… whatever. Often the sexual aspect of the infidelity is simply a tool to establish or maintain validation, rather than the sex per se.

MC won’t fix your wife, but IC might.


If YOU and needs YOU can’t fulfill were the reason for your WW cheating… well… how can you ever prevent her from cheating again?
Like what if you forget to take out the trash?
Or if you snore?
Would those actions that you do or do not do justify or explain why she has to hit on the guy next door?

"If, therefore, any be unhappy, let him remember that he is unhappy by reason of himself alone." Epictetus

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This0is0Fine ( member #72277) posted at 5:07 PM on Wednesday, November 24th, 2021

1) The (betrayed spouse) BS shares no part of the blame for cheating. You do share your half of the problems in the marriage. Fun fact, WS is very unlikely to have been perfect aside from the lying and cheating.

2) Your MC isn't cut out for infidelity. As many MCs do, they are treating it as a marital problem that is shared. It is not. It's like any other abusive behavior that has a victim and offender. We don't victim blame generally in our society.

I don't know the perfect set of questions to ask an MC related to infidelity. I half-jokingly suggest the important question is "Do you believe duty exists?" As there was a bit of a blow up with me and the MC (whom I then fired) after I discovered my wife was condoning a three year long A our friend was having, and I told her husband out of a sense of duty.

Anyway. You are being continuously retraumatized by your MC that is feeding blame shifting and the unmet needs fallacy. The question you need to know isn't what motivated the A. It's what is broken inside your wife to allow her to deceive you and engage in the A. She needs to fix that to become a safe partner because external pressures and motivations cannot be controlled.

Love is not a measure of capacity for pain you are willing to endure for your partner.

posts: 1484   ·   registered: Dec. 11th, 2019
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ISurvivedSoFar ( member #56915) posted at 5:57 PM on Wednesday, November 24th, 2021

Having had some terrible therapists for infidelity and trauma caused by infidelity I think it is a great idea to interview your therapist. You are looking for someone who understands the following:

* Infidelity is a form of abuse. The betrayed spouse will have significant trauma that needs to be addressed and the wayward spouse needs to understand this and be accountable for their actions. There should not be a co-mingling of marital issues outside of infidelity and the issues presented due to infidelity. While both may need to be addressed, the infidelity is like a house on fire. First you put out the fire before you can consider anything else.

* The wayward is not safe until they understand the source of needing external validation that destroys others and impacts their integrity. This is the tough spot. What comes first? How does the wayward start to get to this unless they understand the role they played in destroying their M and their partner? It has to be acknowledged first.

* IC needs to understand the role of infidelity as an abusive set of activities and behaviors so that it can be addressed appropriately with the individual (this is true for BS and WS alike).

So I would ask the questions Trdd mentions and be mindful of the responses you seek to cover what you need.

As an aside we did MC then IC then another MC then IC then finally an MC that validated me (because of course my WS was playing the victim) and interacted with our ICs. That came in years 2&3 after d-day.

On another note, we did a combination of EMDR (mostly for him and some for me) and EFT. EFT worked wonders - at any given point in time our therapists (all three worked together in the end - yes we required a team of therapy ) were always scanning for our ability to attune to one another. When it was impossible that was a huge queue to go back and do individual work and so we'd iterate.

As you can see it takes quite a commitment. My motivation was to feel better because it felt so awful to be in trauma hell. I was also motivated to see if we could be civil to each other at the very least since there were children in the mix who needed emotionally healthy parents no matter the outcome.

DDay Nov '16
Me: BS, a.k.a. MommaDom, Him: WS
2 DD's: one adult, one teen,1 DS: adult
Surviving means we promise ourselves we will get to the point where we can receive love and give love again.

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ChamomileTea ( member #53574) posted at 6:45 PM on Wednesday, November 24th, 2021

I’m very new to this and trying my hardest to get better. But I feel like I am doing all the work, as she refuses to go to IC to address any other causes that have nothing to do to me.

Both approaches make sense to me… so should we get a new MC that will focus more on core values? How do I find one?

You'd need to interview some MC's before booking with them, and then you just ask them whether they believe cheating is a marital problem or a character problem. And what do YOU think about that? Your opinion counts, you know. What makes sense to you? Do you think you caused your WW to cheat? Do you think she looked at you and said to herself, "damn, I need someone else". You say your MC is working with you on CBT. Is that to try and get rid of negative self talk? How are you supposed to do that when what they're telling you is that YOU are insufficient??? I mean, we pretty much all take a temporary hit on our self-esteem right after dday, but that didn't last for me past the point where I realized that my WH is the one with the defective character. I can't make his choices. I can't control what he does. I have no ability to MAKE him value the things he claimed to when we met, things like honesty and fidelity.

The downside to the "unmet needs" fallacy is that not only does it validate your WS's crappy choices, it leaves the BS as an anxious mess who's not entirely sure what s/he did to cause the cheating and whether or not it will happen again. But guess what?... when you REJECT the unmet needs model, you can heal. I know, because I have.

I don't take ANY responsibility for my fWH's cheating, and I didn't agree to take him back until he agreed to repair his broken character. And that's the thing really... the big difference between blaming the marriage or blaming the cheater. It's what you insist on getting fixed, right? I wasn't going to continue living with my fWH unless he was willing to make real and lasting changes in himself, unless he was willing to identify what went wrong and then resolve it within himself. Don't forget, I've done this both ways now. And your MC's way got me cheated on again.

The bottom line here is that our resolve to be faithful has to come from within. It's got to be a part of who we are and what we value, part of our character. When we really, truly VALUE the things we claim to, like fidelity and honesty, we build strong boundaries around those things. We don't even have to think about it. I BELIEVE in fidelity, so I can't cheat, and I don't put myself in risky situations. I don't look at other men as sexual/romantic options. Hell, I remember years ago, waiting on a customer at work who turned out to be a rather attractive man. But I didn't notice until my coworkers pointed it out because I don't look at men that way. The boundary becomes innate, just part of who you are. It's completely organic.

On the healing side of things, I'm nearly seven years out now and I'm not going to lie, it was rough going for the first five. But I do consider myself to be healed now. I don't spend time thinking about what happened unless I'm here at SI. I rarely trigger. I don't worry about whether or not my fWH might cheat again. I believe he's got his head on straight now, obviously, or I wouldn't be with him. But if it turns out I was wrong, I can handle it now. I'm stronger than I have ever been and my fWH is no longer in position to destroy me. I don't think I could say that if I was still blaming myself and/or my marriage for the cheating.

We've only got a couple of your posts to go on, but it looks like like you've got basically three options. First, you can keep on going with what you've been doing, the "unmet needs" model in MC. That really is going to require you to eat the proverbial shit sandwich though because you know in your heart that you didn't do this. It was her choice. And yeah, we do have guys who come back after 20, 30, and even 40 years who are suddenly as anxious and miserable as they were at dday because they rugswept and they haven't healed. Your second option is just to divorce her out of hand. That's a tough option when you've got a house full of kids, but you're still a reasonably young guy with a lot of life to live. Any time you come to a crossroads like this, there's a path untaken, and that path might have been wonderful. Maybe you would have met someone faithful and true who would have been good to you and your kids. You'll never know. Your third option is to scrap the bad MC, face your WW with the TRUTH that you need more from her and that you need her to change. It's so romantic to say "I love you for just who you are", but this isn't Hollywood and what she is.. is a cheater. She needs to change her worldview and how she interacts with her own values. She needs to get some boundaries together and learn to HONOR the things she claims to care about. If she can do that, everything else has a pretty good shot at falling into place. Not saying that the healing work is over, because there's quite a bit of work that we BS need to do in order to put the past behind us. But R takes two, and until your WW is taking responsibility, you're still rugsweeping.

You know, you can always bring her here. Maybe not right away, but when you're more comfortable. There's a "wayward" section she can post in and we have a few former WS's who have hung around and can give some guidance to new members. You might consider reading in there for yourself just a bit so you can see the real difference between the recovered WS and the rugswept WS. I don't see what you would have to lose by giving this thing a do-over. At worst, you'd be back where you are now, thinking about whether you truly do want to continue. It's a hard conversation to have, but the alternative is "going along to get along", and I don't think you're going to like where that brings you.

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 Lefonquey1 (original poster new member #79618) posted at 1:42 AM on Thursday, November 25th, 2021

This has all been very helpful. Thank you all so much.

posts: 6   ·   registered: Nov. 22nd, 2021
id 8700073
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